Fixing the Met: Art Lovers Speak

HELP WANTED: Stately home seeks caretaker for priceless collection of antiquities, pictures, bronzes and bric-a-brac. Successful applicant will oversee staff of 2,500, ensure upkeep, supervise purchases and promote estate’s interests at home and abroad. Manor is leaky — planned extension delayed (owners have second home nearby). Send résumés to 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan. (Those with dust allergies need not apply.)

O.K., finding a new director for the Metropolitan Museum of Art will take more than a LinkedIn posting — but the hunt is on for a successor to Thomas P. Campbell, whose resignation last winter added a kink to the Met’s tangle of troubles. Attendance, at seven million, is at a high. Exhibitions are some of the finest anywhere. Yet as it approaches its 150th birthday, the museum lumbers under a nearly $15 million deficit; a planned new wing for modern and contemporary art has been deferred; and the Met’s optional admissions charge may be replaced with a mandatory entrance fee for out-of-towners.

A new director, expected to be named later this year, will have to plot a new path forward. But it’s still the grandest job in the art world — even though some aspects of that job must now be shared with Daniel H. Weiss, its president, who was garlanded last month with the additional title of chief executive. (Mr. Campbell held that title previously, and at most museums the artistic head occupies the top post.) With the new director reporting to Mr. Weiss, and not the other way around, many aspects of the job-share still have to be worked out.

The Met’s lease on the Breuer runs out in 2023. Assuming the Whitney Museum of American Art doesn’t take it back, should the Met extend its lease? How can older and newer art speak to each other at the Breuer and on Fifth Avenue (and even at the Cloisters, the third location)? Can we get better food than the public cafeteria, and can we have our metal admissions badges back? Can the Met keep up its…

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